Can the NYC Steakhouse Survive?
North Loop, West End
If you’re down with football accompanied by a live DJ, The Loop is your place. (Don’t worry though -- the beats won’t interfere with the Bowl.) With lots of big screens, it’s the bar to be at on game day if you’re a NoLo condo-dweller. You can get in for free.
St. Louis Park, Northeast
Serving the Twin Cities since 1933, Bunny’s was around before the Vikings ever played in Minnesota. A neighborhood spot with an everyone-knows-your-name vibe, you won’t pay Downtown prices for drinks while you watch the game. And, with purchase of a drink (like you weren’t going to get a beer), there’s a complimentary postgame taco bar. Bunny's will have no cover.
The word “industrial” in Mac’s name nods to Northeast’s working-class heritage, and the servers and bartenders here are some of the nicest in town. A basic, nondescript brick building hides an understated sports bar with more than 25 taps and great apps including you’ve-gotta-try-them "tot chos" (tater tot nachos.) With more than a dozen giant flat screens, no cover, and awesome service, Mac’s is a solid bet for game time.
Normally a dueling pianos bar, Shout! House will open early at noon with a huge projection screen in front of the stage and no cover. Order up some colorful shots and once the game is over, stay for the show as entertainers jockey for applause (and your dollars). There's no cover here, and you can expect the pianos to duel after the game.
Downtown Minneapolis, Northeast
Just two blocks from the stadium, Grumpy’s is bound to be wall-to-wall, but don’t expect this old-school bar to roll out the red carpet for anyone. They’re known for their no-fuss service, greasy food, and great beer selection with lots of local taps. There's no cover at Grumpy's.
No matter the weather on Super Bowl Sunday, Union has you covered -- literally -- with a glass-enclosed heated rooftop. Catch the game on a giant projection screen with the skyline as your backdrop, and afterwards stay for a multi-level party. Although it comes with a price tag (there’s a $150 cover), there’s an open bar as well as a buffet featuring wings, sliders, and a carving station.
Forget game day -- what about game weekend? Sneaky Pete’s is a “go big or go home” kind of place, so it’s no surprise they’ve worked up a whole three-day party. Sponsored by Jim Beam, Stoli, and Jagermeister, you know you’re going to make some bad decisions, but there's no cover, and the festivities here, which include bottle service and live DJs, run from Friday morning at 11am to Monday morning at 4am.
Wings and football go hand in hand, and Ray J’s is consistently voted “Best Wings in Minnesota,” making this one an excellent option for the big game, with no cover charge. They’re known for unique flavors (Asian sesame, Sriracha peanut butter, smokey ranch) that totally live up to the hype, as well as their local beer list and tons of TVs.
If you haven’t caught a game at James Ballentine VFW, you’re missing out. By the sound of it, not an obvious football-watching spot, we admit... but Uptown 20-somethings changed that. With three large projection screens and 15+ TVs, this is not your grandpa’s hangout. There will be no cover, but there will be postgame karaoke.
If you’re staying east of the river, Tiff’s has an ideal TV setup for catching the Bowl, including two 120-inch big screens. Normally a Packers bar, this spot has no cover and is likely to draw a different fan base than Downtown, so if you want to watch the big game with like-minded people, you won’t be judged for your green and gold gear here.
Stanley’s is a great place to watch games, with 50 craft beers on tap and good bar bites. But, this year they’ve set themselves apart from the pack by adding a pre-game Puppy Bowl watch party from 1-3pm. If you don’t get Animal Planet at home, head here to watch the adorableness unfold. There will not be a cover.
If you want to party on Super Bowl Sunday, Pourhouse is the place. The huge, two-level bar says they’ll have the largest screen in the Cities plus another 50 TVs. The $149 cover, which includes an unlimited premium bar and buffet, may seem spendy for some, but when you consider how much you’d run up buying rounds, it’s a pretty decent deal.
A short walk from US Bank Stadium, Crooked Pint has a massive space and lots of TVs. Even though it’ll be packed, this combination should ensure there isn’t a bad spot to sit (or stand) in the house. With 28 craft brews on tap plus great Juicy Lucy’s, it’s a solid bet for getting as close to the stadium as possible without a ticket.
Dilly Dilly! 508’s Super Bowl party is sponsored by Bud Light, so be prepared to hear that phrase over and over by post-collegiate dudes in lieu of paying a cover. In addition to drink specials, you’ll have a shot at scoring Bud swag. If you’re looking for other options, there’s an excellent MN tap list that includes Indeed, Bauhaus, and Castle Danger, as well as solid apps like the Buffalo chicken wontons.
Best known for the “Grape Ape” (a concoction of vodka, soda, and purple liqueur), The Loon is always buzzing during Vikings games, and the Bowl will be no different. With lots of TV’s, a good vibe, and award-winning chili, it’s the kind of place everyone feels comfortable. Pull up a stool for just a $20 cover, down a few Apes, and commence your Sunday Funday.
For those looking to party well ahead of time, 612 has you covered with a four-day, no-cover fest kicking off on Thursday with trivia and continuing Friday and Saturday with Madden and Mario Kart tournaments, beer pong, and tippy cup. Sunday will see a 10-foot projection screen setup for the game along with a Michelada bar, Heggies Pizza, and a keg tap of the brewery’s special 52 by 612 Super Bowl beer.
The third annual "BIG GAY Super Bowl Party" returns to LUSH with drag hosts, prizes and giveaways, and oh, yeah -- the game. Even better, included in the $10 cover are free Jell-O shots at touchdowns, an all-you-can-eat popcorn bar, and nacho buffet. The party starts at 4:30pm and has sold out in the past, so grab your tickets before they’re gone.
Downtown Minneapolis, Lowertown St. Paul, Uptown
With three locations, The Bulldog has stellar service, superior burgers, and lotsa big screens. The Downtown location will be busiest (and closes at 4am), but you can’t go wrong with Uptown or Lowertown either. Sip suds from Fair State, Insight, and Bad Weather while you watch the game (or commercials) on 12 big screens and dig into a House Burger. They won't have a cover.
Alary’s was founded by a former Chicago Bears player in 1949, and his legacy lives on today as a place for fans to gather when they can’t make it to Soldier Field. With 40+ taps, 60-inch flat screens, no cover, and free parking available next door, Alary’s brands itself as the original sports bar. Even though the Bears didn’t come close to the Bowl, have one of the bartenders mix you a stiff drink and you’ll forget all about it.
Jack’s, appropriately, is bringing in former Viking Jack Brewer to host a celebrity party that has a high price tag but a good guest list. Comedian Kevin Hart, rappers Rick Ross and Busta Rhymes, and wide receivers Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald will be there, so be sure to look your best. Your $200 ticket gets you booze and a buffet spread.